Technology has been the catalyst for a number of workplace changes in recent years, and it is now enabling more flexibility than ever before. The adoption of smartphones, cloud computing, and video conferencing tools like Skype has meant that connectivity and collaboration over long distances has never been easier and businesses are beginning to take note.
Organizations all over the world are starting to recognize the benefits of workforce flexibility and tailoring their recruitment programs accordingly. Randstad Sourceright’s 2015 Talent Trends Survey found that 77% of organization agree that variable work hours, job-sharing, or working from home should be introduced. In the UK last year, 4.2 million people were already working from home as professionals, skilled traders, and managers.
Greater flexibility is now being used as a means of talent attraction, and firms and staff are benefitting as a result. Studies have shown that employees that are able to work remotely have a better work-life balance, and that isn’t because of more hours spent lounging in pyjamas when they should be working. In fact, members of staff able to work from home have been found to be more engaged and, hence, more productive. Individual businesses should assess whether remote working is bringing the desired results by reviewing performance and talking to line managers. Of course, telecommuting won’t be the right fit for every business, but it is already proving a success across a number of different industries.
Remote working, driven by web-based apps and mobile connectivity, may have led to an increase in productivity, but this hasn’t been at the expense of employee morale. Despite working harder and for longer hours, 90% of home-based workers claim to be happier, demonstrating that flexible working provides a boost for employers and employees alike. Huge organizations such as BT, American Express, and Best Buy have all reported quantifiable benefits as a result of telecommuting.
Flexible working has also proven more cost-effective for some businesses. Annual company savings as a result of home-based, part-time work have been estimated at around $11,000 per employee due to increased productivity and lower costs. It has also saved employees somewhere between $2,000 and $7,000 annually and 15 days in time, according to a Global Workplace Analytics report.
Enables recruiters to source talent
Benefit of flexible working is that it enables recruiters to source talent from anywhere in the world. In the past, HR departments were restricted to their immediate vicinity, but now talent attraction is truly a global affair. Mobile working not only means that companies can source the best employees wherever they’re based but also that clients and customers can get in contact more easily. By having a group of mobile workers employed around the world, businesses can be reached at any time and be confident that employees have the resources required to complete any task thrown at them.
As well as employing staff from all over the world, businesses are also becoming increasingly flexible in terms of the type of contracts being offered. Contractors and freelance staff are being used more and more to give employees’ greater independence and businesses more agility. Companies have realized that by using contractors they can scale operations up and down with much less disruption and at a much lower cost. Embracing the “gig economy” is however, a significant structural change for many businesses, and securing the right talent is still important. Firms may want to enlist the help of an external HR specialist such as Randstad Sourceright to ensure that your temporary employees are of the same high quality as your permanent ones.
Flexible working has already proven beneficial for both companies and employees, enabling a better work-life balance, enhanced productivity, and increased agility. As more and more Millennials enter the workforce, the desire flexible schedules is likely to increase, which is sure to bring new challenges as well as further opportunities. HR departments must remember to constantly assess the company’s approach to alternative ways of working to ensure that clients, customers, and staff are satisfied.
Article by: Randstand Sourceright
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